Where Does Canola Oil Come From and How Did It Get Its Name?

The name Canola came from the combination of the two words Canada and oil.

Hundreds of years ago, Asians and Europeans used rapeseed oil in lamps. And as time past, people employed it as a cooking oil and added it to foods.

Considered only a specialty crop in Canada not too long ago, canola has become a major North American cash crop. Canada and the United States produce several million tons of canola seed per year.

Canola oil hit the U.S. marketplace in 1986, but in places like Europe, India, and China, this healthy and low-fat oil has been used for centuries, and known as rape oil.

The rape plant is a member of the mustard family, which include cabbage, turnip, and horseradish. Rape means “turnip” in Latin.

While other oils are named after the plants they come from, peanut oil, olive oil, corn oil, and safflower oil, for instance, rape oil was a potential marketing disaster that Canadian food scientists wanted to avoid altogether in the Americas.

As a result, the name Canola was invented to describe a new hybrid of rape, and even more important, the name was trademarked. Unlike any other cooking oil, Canola’s name is licensed to companies that produce the oil, so they have to pay money to sell it under that name.

Those Canadians sure are smart and good with business.

Canola oil has beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, is low in saturated fat, and high in monounsaturated fat. It is completely safe and is the healthiest of all commonly used cooking oils, as claimed by the Canola Council of Canada.

It is also recognized by many organizations including the American Dietetic Association, and American Heart Association. Canola oil is known to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to its unsaturated fat content.

But wait. The rapeseed blossom is a major source of nectar for honeybees.

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